September 14th, 2012
12:46 PM ET

Pope Benedict begins trip to Lebanon amid Mideast protests, violence

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Beirut, Lebanon, on Friday for a previously scheduled trip as anti-American protests and violence spurred by an anti-Islamic film roiled the Mideast, including in Lebanon.

Police killed one person in Tripoli, Lebanon, on Friday after a group of armed men stormed a restaurant amid protests in the city, Lebanese security forces told CNN.

"I have come to Lebanon as a pilgrim of peace, as a friend of God and as a friend of men,” Benedict said in a public address Friday afternoon at Beirut’s airport, where he was greeted by Lebanese President Michel Sleiman.

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“Looking beyond your country, I also come symbolically to all the countries of the Middle East as a pilgrim of peace, as a friend of God and as a friend of all the inhabitants of all the countries of the region, whatever their origins and beliefs,” Benedict said as he began a three-day trip to Lebanon.

About 40 armed men were spotted among hundreds of protesters in Tripoli on Friday, Lebanese officials said.

Anti-American rage sparked by an online film that insulted Islam's prophet boiled over Friday among Muslims in at least half a dozen countries, as the United States stepped up security at diplomatic posts across the Middle East.

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Aware that protests were planned for Friday - the Muslim holy day - the United States beefed up security at its embassies and consulates across the Middle East.

The unrest began Tuesday when outrage over a 14-minute American-made online video that mocks the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and ruthless killer sparked riots at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Four America consulate staffers were killed, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

U.S. officials suspect that a group sympathetic to al Qaeda used the protests over the film as cover for the complex and well-coordinated attack on the consulate.

In Lebanon, Benedict praised the Lebanese people for providing a model on how believers of various religions could coexist peacefully, calling it an “equilibrium” that is “extremely delicate.”

“Sometimes it seems about to snap like a bow which is overstretched or submitted to pressures which are too often partisan, even selfish, contrary and extraneous to Lebanese harmony and gentleness,” Benedict said.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Lebanon • Middle East

soundoff (417 Responses)
  1. prophet

    even kates sister was photgraphed in an immoral situation, what can i say except we are praying for them.

    September 15, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  2. Frank

    Look around for something that does not have a cause (and therefore a beginning). This sequence can work backwards indefinitely. But does it go infinitely, or does it ultimately stop? To say that it goes on infinitely leads to a logical dilemma. Without some initial cause, there can be no caused things, and no explanation for causality itself. The only rational answer is that there is at the beginning of all things an uncaused Cause, capable of causing all things.

    September 15, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Drink my Kool-aid

      Deep, I don't know, therefore god....derp.

      September 15, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Frank

      Exactly, we don't know. Therefore, I don't think it is right for either side to critize the other on a topic that neither of us has the answer to.

      September 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  3. That guy

    "Atheists have taken what they think is the other side of the coin without any reason other than rebellion."

    It's always amusing when a religious person has to fall back on insults because he can't muster up an intelligent defense of his beliefs.

    September 15, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Rollo Tomasi

      There is no intelligent defense for their beliefs. They have no evidence anywhere in the universe, not the slightest shred of evidence. All they have is a weird old book (as do many many other religions) with no evidence at all to support its wild claims.

      So if you have no evidence, you cannot debate. There are really no tactics or strategies to support the unsupportable. As such, religious people are forced to instead use fallacious reasoning. They have nothing else. The only thing worth noting is how happily so many of them embrace and use intellectually dishonest positions and abusive behavior. Some morality!

      September 15, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Randall

      There are numerous miracles and aparations that support a higher power.

      September 15, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  4. AvdBerg

    The Pope has been praying for Peace for more than a thousand years but as the people of this world have seen, his prayers are all in vain (Matthew 15:9).

    The Pope is not the vicar of Christ but rather a false apostle and a vicar of a false Christ who serves the spirit of this world and who deceives all the followers of his church (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15)

    For a better understanding of the history and doctrines of the Catholic Church and all its deceptions, we invite you to read the articles ‘The Mystery Babylon’, ‘Popes and the Princes of This World’, ‘S.exual Abuse in the Churches’ and ‘S.exual Abuse – Vatican Involvement’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    September 15, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • mama kindless

      Revelation?? Everyone knows the dude that wrote that mess was high as a kite. Probably crashed his camel in a lake of bath salts. St. John the Opium Addict, evidently.

      September 15, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Randall

      Do you want to back this up with any FACTS and not YOUR interpretation of th bible????

      September 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  5. 200 TON HAMMER

    Europian Religion labanon muslim Religion
    Man made Religion are very racist no duffrent then the KKK

    September 15, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  6. Reality

    Only for new members of this blog:

    Money wasted as the "vomit-inducing" ped-ophilia and coverup will simply hasten the decline of all religions as they finally go extinct from their own absurdity.. It is time to replace all religions with a few rules like "Do No Harm" and voluntarily convert all houses of "worthless worship" to recreation facilities and parks

    September 15, 2012 at 8:41 am |
  7. prophet

    learned peaceful people have been saying for many years that most muslims and what they are taught is aganist Proper Moral Values and a peaceful society, and what they have done is prove these people to be correct. Its a religion of immorality.

    We are praying for them.

    September 15, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  8. prophet

    learned peaceful people have been saying for many years that most muslims and what they are taught is aganist Proper Moral Values and a peaceful society, and what they have done is prove these people to be correct. We are praying for them.

    September 15, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  9. prophet

    We are praying for him mand the catholics.

    September 15, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  10. prophet

    i think that kate and all the recent so called royal family are a terrible example to people. To be with her husband in that manner of non-attire is not befitting of a moral example, she is not just a commoner but common as well, she and many others have bought the royal family into disrepute. She is what is know as reinventing the square wheel, just as fergie and camilla, they are an insult to Proper Example to lead people and show family values. Have you all noticed since women have had power what a mess the world has become. i am not refering to all women just those who are greedy for power as many are these days. even the nuns that have been on here complaining, they want power as well, sad really because the doctrine that they believe in is all about being humble. Teach what you preach. we are praying for them all.

    September 15, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Pippa

      May your prayer change you and help you suffer less in this life – other life, elsewhere, is not guaranteed to anyone! And, mind your own business:-)

      September 15, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    September 15, 2012 at 5:07 am |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 15, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  12. jurgen jones



    September 15, 2012 at 5:01 am |
    • truth be told

      Atheists have tortured and murdered more people in the last 100 years than were killed in all previous centuries.

      September 15, 2012 at 5:08 am |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:

      M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..(Religions/Groups involved)*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Christians)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      *:" Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

      A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion."

      Q: So, what you're saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

      A: Arrgh... You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many doc-umented examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it's more than the number of wars fought over soccer, or s-ex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don't even make the list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

      In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under "Communism", 24 under Colonialism, 2 under "Railroads" and 2 under "Scapegoats". Make of that what you will."

      September 15, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "truth be told", but your assertion about atheism is unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 15, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  13. laugh

    I love egg benedict.

    September 15, 2012 at 4:59 am |
    • Pippa


      September 15, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  14. atheists are bunch of cowards and gutless jerks

    The man behind it is a closet atheist and the movie was secretly funded by atheists' cult. Its real intent was more than plain ridicule and insult of Mohammed and Islam but rather not less than creating war and chaos between all religions. And they are now starting on of the 3 Major religions(Christianity, Islam, Jewish).

    It's their long-time obsession to topple down and end religions of all sorts. But they don't have enough numbers to do it. They are just a drop in a bucket even in the non-believers segment.

    It's now their design to stir-up one or a couple of the major religious group to anger to make them (all religions) anihilate each other that they (atheists) will prevail in the end.

    I just hope that all our muslim brothers will be enlightened that they may discern things in a brighter perspective that they will not be used by atheists to further their evil agenda.

    September 15, 2012 at 4:49 am |
    • midwest rail

      Pigeon chess.

      September 15, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "atheists are bunch of cowards and gutless jerks", but all of your assertions are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 15, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  15. Javad

    You nasty Jews! Bewait for a big penalty///

    September 15, 2012 at 4:14 am |
  16. Javad

    This person,namely pop, is a criminal and has no right to come to Lebanon and other muslem countries. He and his circle, dirty Jews will soon go to hell.

    September 15, 2012 at 4:10 am |
    • Lebanese

      Javad, you obviouslly know nothing about Lebanon or what the Pope represent. Keep your short sighted opinion to yourself! Better to read couple of books prior to any public comments. May God give you light.

      September 15, 2012 at 5:07 am |
    • Ben

      You can't even spell the word "Muslim" correctly. Get an education before you make yourself look even more foolish.

      September 15, 2012 at 6:44 am |
  17. 2357

    Papa, please come back alive. I know you blew it with your butler. But better him than you. Besides, the priests need you for protection. Please stay out of trouble in Beirut.

    September 15, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • Kevin

      Beirut is safer than any other city in the world.

      September 15, 2012 at 2:54 am |
  18. Kevin

    Lebanon is more than a country. It is a message to the East and the West.

    September 15, 2012 at 1:03 am |
  19. Kevin

    Lebanon is more than a country, It is a Mission

    September 15, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  20. ScottCA

    Pope = Conman selling lies to fools.

    September 15, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Kevin

      It's better to shut up

      September 15, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Yes, it would be better if Pope-a-Dope, and all religious charlatans, shut up!

      September 15, 2012 at 1:03 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.